Best Pressure Washers of 2021

These top-performing gas and electric models from CR's tests can blast away years of dirt and stains

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A pressure washer is the perfect tool to work magic on concrete or decking, walkways, patios, steps, and more. The best models can erase months or even years of stains with a brief blast.

Our pressure washer buying guide is the place to start if you’re considering one of these tools. CR members can also jump right to our pressure washer ratings to compare models. In addition to our lab test results, our ratings also reflect reliability data from our exclusive member survey. Below, we’ve highlighted the very best choices from our tests.

But first, an important word on safety: A pressure washer, also known as a power washer, is much more than a high-powered garden hose. It can direct a stream of water with such force that it can pierce skin and even cut through protective gear, including boots.

That’s why CR doesn’t recommend pressure washers that include a zero-degree tip or nozzle, which harnesses water power into the finest, most powerful stream, no matter how they perform.

More on pressure washers

“It’s not just that zero-degree nozzles are dangerous” says Dave Trezza, who oversees pressure-washer testing for Consumer Reports. “They’re not really necessary. Our testing routinely finds that you can get the same results with a little patience and a 15-degree tip.”

If you buy a model with a zero-degree nozzle, toss that nozzle into the trash.

To test pressure washers, we measure how much pressure each model can produce in pounds per square inch, giving a higher score to those with a higher psi. Then we fire up each pressure washer and use it to strip paint from painted plastic panels, timing how long it takes. Models with a higher pressure output tend to perform better on this test. We also measure noise, and you should know that almost all pressure washers are loud enough to require hearing protection.

Last, we size up ease of use by evaluating basics such as the process of adding fuel and noting features that improve the experience. For example, a model with an engine that automatically shuts off when oil is running low will earn a higher score.

The models featured here are the best pressure washers you can buy based on CR’s latest tests.

Best Gas Pressure Washers

Best Light-Duty Electric Pressure Washer

Best Light-Duty Electric Pressure Washer (Budget-Friendly)

Best Heavy-Duty Electric Pressure Washer

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Paul Hope

As a classically trained chef and an enthusiastic DIYer, I've always valued having the best tool for a job—whether the task at hand is dicing onions for mirepoix or hanging drywall. When I'm not writing about home products, I can be found putting them to the test, often with help from my two young children, in the 1860s townhouse I'm restoring in my free time.